Education

Full Stack Developer: What Is That?

Introduction

If you’ve been working anywhere near the field of software development, you’ve probably heard the term ‘full stack developer’. It’s quite a strange way of phrasing a job scope, and you’re probably wondering what a ‘Full Stack’ means and what they do. Maybe you’re thinking of going into software development and are curious about the ads you see looking for ‘Full Stack’ Developers. Well, this article will answer these questions and more.

What does a Full Stack mean?

A Full Stack is industry terminology for both the Front End and the Back End. This is usually referred to in the field of web development, where the Full Stack Developer will be proficient in handling both matters relating to the website’s core functionality and matters relating to the website’s back end; the server side of things. These Developers can be very useful in a team as it helps to have someone who’s rather a jack of all trades to help solve problems as they come up. Whatever stages a web project is at, full stack developers usually have the versatility and know-how to assist the team in the development. This makes them very desirable for organizations capable of hiring them.

What do they usually do?

Mainly people divide web applications to the Front End and the Back End. The Front End, or what is seen by the end-user or client, consists of the user interface combined with the website design. The Back End of a website can be just as if not much more complicated. The Back End, also called the server side, is responsible for gathering data, communicating with other parties, and many core functionalities of most websites.

A Full Stack developer is someone who works on the Front End and the Back End. This is sometimes possible as a solo team as the developer is then in full control over the website’s functions and how they map to key server-side code.

In a team, they might be tasked to hop between projects to lend manpower to help certain web development projects tide over a crisis or meet a milestone. Working on a live site is also something you would want Full Stack Developers for, since they’re aware of how changing the client-side will impact the mapping of website functions to the back-end programming.

Many Full Stack Developers have built their skillset to work both in team and solo settings and may have niche skills and specializations. For example, some Full Stack Developers might be very good at database management, and some might be amazing at pulling off interactive magic and stunning graphical layouts for the Front End. These skills are usually what sets Front End developers apart from each other.

Lastly, a Full Stack Developer can sometimes be the point of contact for the whole project, and is hired and trusted to be accountable and proficient in communicating with:

  • Project Management
  • Clients
  • Back-end server side team
  • Front-end programmers
  • UI/UX designers/agencies
  • Database services
  • External API Providers.

What is the workload like?

Some of the tasks Full Stack Developers are expected to complete:

  • Aid in Design and Development of software products
  • Code testing and debugging from the front end to the back end
  • Front end-user experience design
  • Designing the user interface for a web project
  • Mapping new databases and web servers to the existing front end
  • Designing features for cross-platform use and compatibility.
  • Maintaining responsive design features of apps
  • Designing new APIs
  • Communicating project challenges and briefing key players on new technologies

When do you need a Full Stack Developer?

Full Stack Developers are valuable because they consider the scalability and the size of both the front and the back end of the project. Say you’re a small gaming studio. You’ll probably do just fine with one front-end and one back-end developer. Maybe you would rather hire a Senior Full Stack Developer instead of two developers.

If you’re a large organization with a web application that may not start off large but is ambitious and looking to scale into wide markets and many use cases, the front end, back end, and full stack developers will be present en masse working to keep it running and developing new parts of the application.

What do you need to become a Full Stack Developer?

When it comes to full-stack development, no surprise as I tell you that it usually attracts the brightest mind out of college. In high demand, stressful and lucrative, you will find Full Stack Developers working in different organizations who have come from vastly different work and educational backgrounds. With a Full Stack workflow, the developer is required to not just be a generalist, but a specialist when called for, and this means to be hired, you have to prove not just your technical ability, but your other skills like problem-solving and communication.

To start off, you will have to have an education in computer science, programming, or statistics and related fields, and a bachelor’s degree is usually sufficient to show your employer that you know the technical side of the job well. If you’re a mid-career reskilling, you can also opt for web development boot camps and relevant certifications that you can leverage with your past degree perhaps in IT or Mathematics and work experience.

I mentioned work experience, and while this job isn’t great for ultimate greenhorns, it doesn’t require years of experience to do well in either. Your work experience and portfolio simply have to prove that you not only understand what the company is looking for, but you are able to provide in languages like Node, JavaScript, CSS, Ruby, and HTML.

Conclusion

With that, I’ll end this off hoping you know more about what a Full Stack is, what a Full Stack Developer does, and what you need to be proficient in to apply for a role as a full stack developer. Full Stack Developers are all-around assets to any team lucky enough to have them and if you’ve talked to anyone working with Full Stack Developers, you’ll realize that they are often the smartest person in the room and have great social skills. If that sounds like you, then we’re looking forward to seeing you out there coding up good APIs. It’s hard work.

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